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Syria 23, Us 11, Assad 10, Washington 8, Obama 7, John Kerry 7, United States 7, Bill Clinton 6, Clinton 6, Iraq 5, Iran 4, George Bush 4, Sam 4, New York 3, Colin Powell 3, Afghanistan 3, Obama Administration 3, Michael Sherer 2, Letterman 2, At&t 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.   
   (2013) New. (CC)  

    August 30, 2013
    4:00 - 5:01pm PDT  

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are exposed of having blueberry all over your face. it's one thing to err. it's another to be stubborn and not hear from the people you're trying to govern. and we're not his enemies. some of us have worked with him. but we are not going to be silent if we think something is wrong. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a great holiday weekend. "hardball" starts right now. war talk. let's play "hardball." >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. it's about killing people. when all the words are spoken, the conversation about needing to enforce a red line to protect an international norm, any decision by president obama to bomb syria will kill people. it will kill the guys working
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the night shift, people just doing their jobs to put food on their family tables. daddy who went to work that morning will not be coming home because of what this president decides to do. the assad family will be okay, of course. the designers of that vogue magazine spread won't be anguished by this sight of this thoroughly western family lying on the floor. no. the people who will die in an american cruise missile attack will be the working, praying, little family people whose husbands do the cut work. war sucks, even in neat little bite-sized act of war like the one that might come any day now. and yet, and yet, how do we avoid this flagrant reality if we don't? those deciding in tehran right now whether to build a nuclear bomb are looking to see what the people in washington are doing. if we threaten the country, if it uses one weapon of mass destruction and it goes ahead and ignores us, what worth does our threat hold against that other country deciding whether to build theirs.
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is there any way we can convince iran not to go nuclear if we let syria so flagrantly go chemical. and wrnt correspondent for "the washington post." i want you first to start, secretary of state john kerry did an amazing performance today in certainly one of his most forceful and most passionate speeches i've ever seen him give, laid out the reasons this average afternoon for action against syria, including the first hard numbers on the death toll, numbers much higher than we had heard before. let's listen. >> we know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year. we know that for three days before the attacks, the syrian regime's chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations. we know that the syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas
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masks and taking precautions. we know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods. breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness, and death. we saw rows of deadlined up in burial shrouds, the white linen unstained by a drop of blood. the united states government now knows that at least 1,429 syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children. this is the indiscriminate, inconceivable terror of chemical weapons. this is what assad did to his
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own people. >> and years ago i saw a book on world war i and you saw what happened to the gassed victims of the war, when gas was used i long the european front. even in world war ii, as bad as that war was with the holocaust, at least on the war front they didn't use it. and now here we have assad using it. patiently his people using it, his chain of command using it. this president has to commit an act of war. in order to say they did something wrong, the only appropriate response today is to commit an act of war against syria, which kills a bunch of people who may have had nothing to do with this. >> yeah, it's the inoculation war. he is saying we're going to do this small thing, this small military thing if they go as we expect they will. >> perhaps over the weekend. >> perhaps over the weekend. in order to avoid a much larger threat and the potential for much wider war. you heard kerry say very specifically today that there are at least three other countries or terror networks -- iran, north carolina, and
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hezbollah, who will be watching to see what the united states does. all either have chemical weapons, or in the case of iran, have some access to them, but also access potentially to a nuclear device. >> do we know whether shooting in syria will be taken seriously by the people deciding, the mullahs, whether to weapon nice their nuclear capability in iran? do we know that they think like we do? >> we certainly don't know that they think like we do. and iran is such a complex and many-layered place, with so many layers, areas of control that it's hard to identify one position for the government. one thing the obama administration is hoping is that the mullahs would say wow, we don't want to get our nuclear facilities whacked like just happened in syria. so let's not do anything provocative in response. >> jerry bash, your thoughts on this. keep the focus on deterrents. we have a military capability.
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can we, should we use it in this way to signal our potential future enemies, don't go nuclear, because we're not going to let this bum go chemical? >> well, chris, it's good to be with you. i've probably sat through several hundred intelligence briefs over the past couple years at the cia, on capitol hill and at the defense department. not one has been nearly as definitive as this one, and not one has been nearly as horrifying as this. this really ranks up there as one of the most convincing and compelling intelligence cases for using military action in this way. and in terms of your question about deterrents and talking about iran, let me point out two things. in 2003, iran suspended its nuclear program. we know that definitively. why did they do that? in part because that was the same year we invaded iraq. we were in both countries around iran and they feared our military. now that wasn't the objective of the iraq war, but that was one of the consequences. >> right. >> also know in january of 2011, chris, if you'll recall, iran
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announced it was going close the straits of hormuz. if iran closes the straits of hormuz, they were going to cross a red line. we were ambiguous what was going to happen. the uss lincoln was going to the straits. you know what they did? not a thing. the lincoln sailed. >> let's make some news here tonight, jeremiment. the secretary of state was incredibly impassioned. i know the guy. i've never seen him this deadly serious about something in a moral context. but he was also confident that he kept saying there are things that i can't tell you, that can't be declassified. what is your hunch that he would like to say but he can't to further make the case for action? >> well, i think it's the granularity of the intelligence. so we can say that there were human sources on the ground telling what's the assad regime did. there was signals intelligence, intercepts of certain regime conversations there was geospatial intelligence. that's the phrase. that really means imagery,
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satellites, looking down at the ground to see what we saw. but we don't want to be that specific about who told us, which phone lines did we tap and what did we take pictures of because that would give too much information to the assad regime. >> but he is personally much more assured that there were weapons used at the behest of the regime than he can say. >> yes. one of the things that intelligence analysts do is they red team things. that means they look for alternative hypotheses. it possible? is it possible, is it plausible that someone could have pulled this off as a hoax, as a fraud, as something that the opposition did to gain our sympathy. they look at all the scenarios and determine it and they say that's simply not possible, chris. >> i'm glad to hear that. here is secretary kerry further emphatically making the case that inaction is not an option. this is where i'm coming from. if we don't do it, will the neo consand everybody else politically say for example, you let iran happen because you didn't act when you had a chance. this is your munich.
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let's listen. >> we need to ask what is the risk of doing nothing. it matters, because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like bashar al assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the united states and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve. >> this is in our american dna, our western dna. if you don't stop the bad guys at some point, you're going have to stop them later and you're going to be at an disadvantage. if you don't stop them grabbing the land, you're going to have to fight over poland. on the other side, germany. you got to fight now or never. >> it's happened to every american president, certainly going back as far as world war i and the widespread use of chemical weapons the first time. in some way or another, every
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american president, as president obama is now is faced with this only bad choice choice. what do i do? do i do the little thing i don't want to do. >> this is a question you won't like. why were the tones so different between -- i want to show you the president. the president was no drama obama compared to that very emotional john kerry. here is president obama's tone. it was different from kerry's. in a meeting he did it as a photo spray right before his meeting with some baltic state presidents. >> i have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce the norm. but as i've already said, i have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options. we have consulted with allies. we have consulted with congress. we have been in conversations
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with all the interested parties. and in no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground, that would involve a long-term campaign. but we are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure not only syria, but others around the world understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban. >> and it's so different. usually presidents say everything is on the table. i'm not telling what we're up to, because it could be worse than they think. here he is saying don't worry, bashar al assad. it's not going to be a long-term war. we're not bringing boots on the ground. he seems more afraid of the war skeptics than he is of the enemy, more worried about them. >> yeah, i think there is definitely something to that. you're seeing the administration's own ambivalence
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about how strong a case to make and who should make it play out here. kerry genuinely feels very strongly about this. you heard his voice break and all that i am perfectly prepared to believe that is entirely genuine and sincere. it is. and obama's low -- >> i only have a minute. thanks for coming on the show. jeremy bash, why do this with a bunch of cameras clicking showing he is almost on the way to going somewhere, the bathroom or oh, i got minute for you guys. here. why didn't he stop the music, call a press briefing go, into the briefing and say damn it, we're talking war here. >> i think the president is reluctant, as we want presidents to be when they deploy a military force. but he is resolute. look at the other times he deployed forces. he doubled down our forces in afghanistan. he participated in the coalition activities in libya, and sent a special operations force 150 miles into pakistan to get bin laden. in each of the cases he was
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concerned and he was somewhat reluctant to put americans in harm's way and to commit the american military, but he did it. and i think in those cases it's been in our national interests. look, this president, he doesn't want to get stampeded. and i think really, his tone and his words are kind of his way of saying that that old thing that presidents used to say. we will respond at a time, place, and manner of our choosing. it will not be defined by the enemy. it will not be defined by our critics. it will certainly not be defined inside the beltway. it will be defined in the way that we want to do it. also, we've got to posture the military force, we have to consult with allies, we have to talk to congress there is work to be done. i think at the end of the day, the president will act and it will be a good act to deter and to punish assad. >> i remain skeptical about why he was so undramatic there. usually when you're about to kill people, you're about to do something dramatic about war, commit an act of war, you sow show a little more excitement. thank you, ann gearan, thank you jeremy bash.
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coming up, the chronic lies and destoechgs bush administration in iraq have undermined the case for action in syria, don't you think? as one british member of parliament put it, the well has been poisoned. too many crying wolf out there. this is good stuff. bill clinton is making a big speech next week at his library, pushing the affordable care act. but who is the big dog trying to help? the current president or possible future one? plus, segregation laws are a thing of the past, yeah. but we have often self-segregated ourselves into black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods. tonight the challenges and culture shock for the african-american youngster when he leaves his neighborhood for college. finally, let me finish with the usual suspects pushing this war in syria. and that is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
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chemical weapons, half americans are against it. 50% say the united states should not take action in syria. 42% support military action. we looked inside the numbers. democrats are split evenly, 46-46 on whether to take military action, which sounds right to me. among republicans, 49% oppose action against syria. 41% support it. i wonder if one of their guys was pushing it, if it would have a different view. just thinking. and when we asked whether the president needs congress's approval for o before taking military action in syria, 79% said yes, we need congressional action for war. 16% say. no we'll be right back.
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our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and rereviewed information regarding this attack. and i will tell you, it has done so more than mindful of the iraq experience.
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we will not repeat that moment. we also know that we have a who does what he says he will do. and he has said very clearly that whatever decision he makes in syria, it will bear no resemblance to afghanistan, iraq, or even libya. it will not involve any boots on the ground. it will not be open ended, and it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well under way. >> there is absolutely no question that when secretary of state john kerry made sure to point out that any action against syria would not be like iraq, that the ghost of iraq from the selling of the war on false premises to its execution hovers around any decision about action on syria. and the ghost of iraq haunts international leaders as well in describing the effect the iraq debacle had on british lawmakers' rejection of prime minister cameron's request for
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military action, a tory legislator said the prime minister knew that the well had been poisoned by iraq, but i don't think he realized how much that was the case. great quote. and the wording in this "washington post" piece, the main bar piece this morning on the british parliament's rejection shows the dedegree to the deception of the last war that sold the iraq war has become baked into our language. quote, many of his government, that's the british government, attributed the vote loss to the legacy of british participation in the 2003 u.s.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of iraq based on false claims about weapons of mass destruction. michael sherer is "the washington post" for time. and josh rogan, senior correspondent for politics for "newsweek" and the daily beast. gentlemen, you watch and see how the boilerplate changes and how the regular conventional after it's been added and stuff in the
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major papers and magazines begins to be written into our history. false case. the word false, not some would argue allegedly false. it's false. so whatever it, it's come down to bogus arguments for the war. crying wolf on iraq has led this president to have to fight off those who say he is crying wolf now. michael? >> it's absolutely right. and has a global impact. and there is an enormous irony here that obama's entire career is based on opposing the iraq war. >> it's how he got the nomination. >> now he finds himself on the other side of the coin trying to push is t country into a war. >> by the way, i was telling you guys beforehand, i remember when he testified in 1971, my first year in washington, he was the guy back from the war in vietnam talking about how hellish the war was and how wrong it was. >> and now he is playing the colin powell role, right? he is the one out in front. >> and what is wrong with what you just said? >> i'll tell you there is a big difference. >> what was wrong with what you just said?
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playing the colin powell role whom. wants to be there. >> he doesn't want to. but there is an important difference if we're talking about iraq and now. in 2003, the weapons of mass destruction debate are about weapons that no one had seen, that hadn't been used for years at that point. and it was based on this intelligence about where we think they might be. this is a situation with a lot of open intelligence. we know an attack tack place. the issue of whether or not there are chemical weapons that have been used in syria is not really in question. >> i'm with you. the use of the weapons is not an argument any more whether they're existing. the whole question, do you want to be in a position of colin powell, his credibility was used to make the case for war. i don't know what he thought, but he was used. this guy today, didn't you feel that kerry really wanted to fight this war? he wants to do something. >> they've got two issue here is. we have obama in his second term working on his legacy. he wants his legacy to get america out of enthe agements in the middle east. he doesn't want his legacy to get into another one. then you john kerry. he has a serial problem.
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he was pushing for engagement with assad. he thought that assad could be turned, that he was basically a guy who was willing to break from iran and go with the united states. so now kerry has his own legacy problem. he doesn't want to go down as the guy who let assad skate by. he's got to double down. >> let's talk about the numbers in this country. we've gone over progressives who watch this show, a lot of them. look at these numbers now. 46-46, which is the argument we had last night with ignatius and somebody else right now. he is a state reporter, ignatius, but he is a moderate. the problem faces among smart, progressive people who are skeptical about military involvement, now look at this is a 50-50. even given the iraq. >> but you mentioned that the republican numbers are probably slanted because people dislike obama. >> he can say i'm going pardon the thanksgiving turkey and they'd oppose him. >> that number is probably slanted because they trust obama. so the number would probably be much lower. >> so people are the two sides
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flipping the anti-war democrats flipping him back into war a little more? >> here is the issue with the polls. it depends exactly how you asked the question. you guys asked the question in a sort of broadway. if you ask about cruise missile strikes, the number goes higher. >> this is the general one. should the united states take military action. >> if ask should get involved in a general war, the numbers go way down. >> letterman the other night. letterman might be a liberal. i don't know what he is. but a great line the other night was, did you hear the other day they said this war will only last two days. it's a case with a setup is funny. you don't have to add the punch line. did you hear, they said the war will last two days. and everybody watching in the audience is yeah, a war is going to last two days? >> here is the problem. nobody really understands what happens after those two days. it hasn't been explained. as far as we know it hasn't been decided. how does this change? the obama administration wants us to believe that we're going to bomb syria for two days and then everything goes back to normal. >> so like assad is going to say that was a rough day, dear. or is he going to call vladimir
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putin and say why don't you get even with these bastards. or call up hezbollah and say you want to really help me? lob some missiles into haifa. >> these are all good options. nobody knows what we're going to do if he reacts negatively. >> let me ask you this. do we have a kissingeresque set of potential consequences followed by our potential reactions? >>. no and the bottom line here is what they're saying publicly and privately is after the two-day bombing cam rain pain, we're going to to go back to working with assad and the russians. nobody believes that is tenable. >> the rhetorical case is we're going to hold him accountable. we have to hold assad accountable for using these chemical weapons. i don't know what that means. >> what does that 19? if he is overthrown, he is dead. he is not going to teach somewhere in minnesota. this guy is dead if he loses. so how do we hold him accountable? >> a senior administration official said we do not think
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there is a military solution to this conflict. >> quickly we have to take a look at this. let's take a look at george bush. you're talking about. here is george bush talking about this from the golf course the other day about this whole thing about whether we go to war or not, take an act of war against assad in syrah. >> the president has a tough choice to make. and if he decides to use our military, the greatest military ever backing him up. i was not a fan of mr. assad. leallele he is an ally of iran and has made mischief. >> that was the common sense george bush i liked years ago. i wish he we had that years ago. we don't like the guy. he has bad friends. >> he is trying not to get in obama's way and not to play a role in this. i was funny was elite level trolling by donald rumsfeld. he said the president hasn't made the case for war, which just set off people on the left, right and center all over the place. when you have donald rumsfeld
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questioning your intelligence and your case for going to war in the middle east, i mean, i think that's trolling on a level. >> they all belong where they are with the american enterprise institute. thank you michael sherer, thank you, josh roggin. we're going to be right back. [ indistinct conversations ]
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so get allstate home insurance with claim rate guard... [ whispering ] goodnight. there are so many people in our bedroom. [ dennis ] talk to an allstate agent... [ doorbell rings ] ...and let the good life in. well, john kerry said today it's undeniable that the president of syria is using weapons of mass destruction. kerry said that president obama needs to build a coalition of countries and attack soon no matter what others may say. today former president george bush said hey, good luck with that. let me know how that works out. i'd be curious, yes, yes. >> wow. welcome to the sideshow that was jay leno last night on the topic making headlines today, syria. well, "the tonight show" certainly hasn't shied away from
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us policy lately, foreign or domestic. here he was on the irs's reversal on same-sex marriage. >> now the irs announced for first time it will treat same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual ones. that shows how far we have come, when gay couples can be screwed by the irs just the same as straight couples. yes, yes. yes. >> wow. well, i guess there are two sides to every coin. finally, the nixon tapes released last week are a treasure trove of material for historians. i actually listened to the last conversation the former president had on tape before the recording system was shut down, removed from the white house in july of '73. classic nixon here. here he is speaking with his secretary, rosemary woods, just before leaving for hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. these were the final words caught on tape. >> we had the x-ray, and they did find it was viral pneumonia. so i have to go to the hospital for perhaps a week. >> i think the main thing is just try to get some rest.
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you know, if you want anything, just -- >> i rest all the time. >> oh, sure. sure. >> got it. in the hospital, boy, that about drives me nuts. >> i know. it's very difficult. if you want anything and you want us to bring or you want me to come out and doing anything. >> oh, okay. thank you. >> and good luck. >> oh, it's going to be fine. >> i know it is. it will be a lot better tomorrow. >> tell ziegler to make the announcement. i says it's the only time in his career he'll hear the press corps clap. >> oh, those bastards, they won't clap. >> don't you love it? you won't have nixon to kick around anymore. he is in the hospital. up next, president clinton is about to help obama sell his health care law. but is he also trying to help someone else? hmm. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients
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i'm milissa rehberger. president obama met with his national security staff on syria
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today at the white house. administration official says no decision has been made yet on military strikes against the regime. syrian officials reacting to secretary of state john kerry's case for military action say he is misleading the american people and has no evidence of a chemical attack. a raging wildfire around yosemite national park is now 32% contained. and apple launches trade-in program for old iphones today. the move comes before the suspected release of a new iphone in september. back to "hardball." president bill clinton. ♪ ♪ don't stop thinking about tomorrow ♪ ♪ don't stop >> in tampa, the republican argument against the president's reelection was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy.
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it went something like this. we left him a total mess. he hadn't cleaned it up fast enough. so far he hasn't put us back in. >> wow. welcome back to "hardball" that was the big dog, former president bill clinton. he was at last year's democratic convention making the best case anyone made for president obama, many think, including president obama. was clinton doing what he does best, explaining things. he is very good at explaining things. he is so good at it, in fact, that president obama had this to say about clinton after his convention speech. >> somebody e-mailed me after his speech and said you need to appoint him secretary of explaining stuff. >> wow. the secretary of explaining stuff is being enlisted, recruited again. next week president clinton will deliver a major address down at his library on the landmark affordable care act that the
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white house says will be the first in a series of high profile speeches on health care. well, the president's signature achievement, that's obama is under relentless attack from republicans, especially people like ted cruz who say they will stop at nothing to repeal or defund or whatever that law of the land. well, president obama is once again turning to perhaps the democratic party's greatest messenger for help, even though their effort crashed and burned the clintons back in the old days of'90s. they were at the take, they only want to be there for the landing ahead of 2016. the obama/clinton alliance is a remarkable powerhouse with unforeseen benefits but what for and for whom? right now political editor and white house correspondent the great sam stein, and co-founder of third way and former president clinton adviser matt bennett. sam, you smile, but you are good. let me ask you this. put it together in the heads of the obama people who have enlisted bill clinton or asked him to help or he is asked to help and the clinton people
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around him, including the former secretary of state who may well be the next president, hillary clinton. what is the relationship between these two political families and health care? >> well, i think there is three points here. one is i think genuinely the clintons and the obamas like the affordable care act. they think it's good policy. they want to sell it and make sure that it works. that's one. two, i think for better or worse, the party is essentially tied to the health care reform law. when hillary runs, if she runs in 2016, she can't run away from the affordable health care act, she has to take ownership of it because this is what the democratic party now stands for. and finally, third, i think it come downs to what you said at the top of this segment, which is bill clinton explains things in ways that are relatable to a wade swath of the population the president has trouble reaching. in this case it happens to be the part of the population that is instrumental to the implementation of the affordable care act. they tend to be low to middle
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income americans. the obama administration has had a devil of a time selling this law. they need to try again because this stuff is kicking in in the near future, and bill clinton is going to help him with that task. >> let's go to that map. we grow up, my generation with mr. wizard, who came on tv and explained science. he had test tubes and beakers and everything. bill clinton is like that. he steps back. he gives it a couple of days thought and comes up with a metaphor. he takes his time and does beautifully at that. the president doesn't do that. >> clinton is the greatest political communicator since fdr. he just is able to understand his audience better than any politician alive. and -- >> does part of his head stay home and stay a regular person who thinks about the stuff that the common person thinks about at the kitchen table? >> exactly. the man from hope thing was shtick, but it was true. that was the genius of clinton
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is he grew up exactly like the types of people that sam was talking about. he understands who they are, where they come from and how they think, and he is able to relate to them like no one else. >> you know, sam, i want to get to that now. it seems to me that health care has not been so sold well. it did get 60 votes in the united states senate. it did get a majority thanks to nancy pelosi as speaker. but it never broke through in a way that for example something else would break through. something we all fall in love with, for example. why didn't it get sold. let me ask you an obvious question, because i've never gotten an obvious answer. 40 million people show up for work every day. they do a good job. they work 40 to 50 hours a week and don't have health care. it's not about poor people. it's not something to be embarrassed by because it's welfare. it's for working people, working people who don't have health care. why doesn't he go to those people and say look, i need you. let me tell you how good it's going to be for you. it's a break, a break for you. why doesn't he do it? >> well, part of the problem is just the construction of the health care law itself. a lot of the bad things happen
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first and the benefits kicked in later. they did that so the law would seem better when you had to score it for the congressional budget office. so there is a lot of time to demonize the law. taxes are going to come into effect. different regulations had to be put into everything. it was only in 2014 and now pushed back a little bit to 2015 that some of the benefits will be felt. and so defenders of the law are always saying listen, give it tile, give it time. and it seems like a broken record. but in fact you do need to give it time you. do need to see the benefit ace crew. >> when are the emergency rooms not going to be crowded with people dealing with things they should go to a primary care physician for? when is that day going to arrive? >> that day could be ten years down the road because a lot of this is about preventative service. a lot of this is funding a different lifestyle or encouraging communities for different lifestyles. those benefits don't happen in the next year. >> president clinton, how do you think he is going to go about taking something that is going become the catnip for ted cruz, just something to kick around and bring it home to people's
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living room, their kitchen tables and and say under this thing, it's better for us. >> i'm not bill clinton. >> try. >> what he is going to say is look, what this is going to provide you, if you have health care, what this is already providing you is stability and security. if you get sick, if you change jobs you can't be denied health care. you can keep your kids on until they're 26. there is all kinds of benefit for you. if you don't have health care, this is going to provide access to health care for you in ways you've never had before. >> how is he going to sell it to people in their 20s who have the option of paying a little fine rather than doing it? i always say it's like the motorcycle guy. i'm not against motorcycles. i used to have them. but when you travel on a motorcycle, your odds of getting hurt are really good. do you want to carry a sign on you that says leave me on the street? no. you want somebody to come from the hospital and treat you well. and you want somebody to pay for it. >> you put your finger on the toughest crowd. i don't know how much he is really going to focus on the 20-something immortals who think they're going to live forever. but what he is going to say to them is you could get hit by a
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bus just like i can. anybody can be in an accident. anybody can get hurt. >> sam, the tough question. is he doing this for his family, his wife who may be president or doing it for the country or both or obama? >> i think it's a bit of both. i think a lot of it does have to do with the fact that hillary clinton will likely run in 2016, and she can't run away from the affordable care act. she has go through the primary process. but i also think that this is a lot of genuine aspects to. this he tried to get health care reform through congress. obviously he failed. he appreciates the idea that you need to have universal health care. this is the first time the democrats were able to do this. and i think, you know, there is a bit of jealous that he couldn't do it. but he also genuinely believes in the notion of having universal health care. it's what a modern society should look like. and i think he wants to champion that. >> okay. and you know part of the reason he is so good is that people -- >> where are you from? >> i'm from syracuse, new york. >> you seem like a southern guy, a southern access.
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>> i'm not. >> you got a deep accent. i like that. it's like a radio voice. you got a little brook benton in you. thank you so much, sam stein. sam, you talk like a guy anyway. >> i don't have a accent. >> we'll be right back you. do well, though. this is "hardball," the place for politics. so we could be a better, safer energy company. i can tell you - safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all drilling activity twenty-four-seven. and we're sharing what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger.
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looking more and more like we know who the next mayor of new york will be. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. a "new york times" sienna
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college poll shows a growing lead for bill de blasio. you have 32% on this poll compared to 18% for former city comptroller william thompson and 17% for the one-time front-runner christine quinn. the winner of the democratic primary in ten days from now is very likely to win the november general election. we'll be right back. individualization that your body needs. this labor day, don't invest in a mattress until
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[ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no. [ male announcer ] share more. save more. at&t mobile share for business. ♪ we're back. 50 years after the march on washington and martin luther king's iconic "i have a dream" speech, many are asking how far have we come with race relations in this country, and do blacks have equal access to jobs and education. if you take a look at high school graduation rates in predominantly black cities, that may tell us if we have indeed overcome. in 2010, the national graduation rate was at 78%. compare that to cities like atlanta at 66%, detroit 62%.
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check out philly, my hometown, 58%. what's even more depressing is the graduation rate among african-americans who actually make it into college. according to the journal of blacks in higher education, that's blacks in higher educati that's 42% from college once you get in. a new book about the first black public high school in the u.s. tells the fascinating story of how african-american students excelled in a time they had limited resources. dunbar high school here in d.c. with me now is the author and award winning journalist allison stewart. thank you so much. you were for many years or at least for a while our colleague here. >> sure. >> let me ask you about generations and progress and your experience with your family which is, perhaps, the heart of this story. what has happened over the last several generations at dunbar? >> it's an amazing story. i remember one of the times i told you, i started working on this in 2006. i told you, chris, i'm working on a story about dunbar high school. my parents went there and my grandfather went there. you twgo you're one of these.
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this academically elite high school in washington, d.c., despite education produced amazing scholars. it was like a magnet school. it's harder for some people who live in -- d.c. to think about this. dunbar was the academic school and in the '50s and sent graduates to college and teachers had master's degrees and ph.d.s because they couldn't find jobs in they field of study. some of the teachers were amazing pioneers. first black graduate of harvard was one of the principals. the first black woman in the entire country to get a college degree, mary jane paterson was a principal. you had this magic moment in d.c. when you had hypereducated kids educated by hypereducated adults within a community that supported the whole ecosystem. >> and then what happened? >> well, it was interesting. you know, when i talked to people about the history of
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dunbar, when d.c. -- i don't say it integrated because it legally desegregated. dunbar had always been an all-black school and it remained an all-black school. the big change was it stopped being a magnet school. and all of the problems and concerns of the community, of the neighborhood, showed up in your public school. i mean, that's sort of what we see today even. all the problems and all the difficulties of the cities show up in our public schools and that happened to dunbar. they really tried to hold on for a very long time. they were able to hold on to that core idea of excellence despite what other people think of you, despite all of the difficulties of segregation and racism and prejudice. you know, once d.c. sort of imploded after dr. king was assassinated and financial difficulty of the '70s, drugs in the '80s, sky leps in the '90s. >> let's talk about this and generalize it for the audience not of color. i'll share this moment.
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i had parents who raised five boys. i always like to say they raised us as upper middle class kids on a middle class income. they never had steaks, never went to nightclubs. i don't think my dad ever bought a coke on the way home from work. they didn't waste a nickel. took the cheapest subway trains and buses to get home. to save enough money so we would get the break of orthodontists and piano lessons and private schools and a house on the shore. they knew how to raise families. sounds like your family. >> there's a great story i tell in the brook an my grandfather who had a law degree but had to work three jobs so my mom and uncle didn't have to work after school and could concentrate on their studiy ies and have extra that help you become the person you are. i mean, you really saw the lack of opportunity. it's interesting we've been looking back this week at dr. king's message. i like to call racism kind of like a weed. because you take the top off, you know the roots of the weed are there and they're deep and that weed will grow back, right? so you have housing
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discrimination that we still have the roots of. you have employment discrimination we still have the roots of. you have educational discrimination. the roots are still there though we ripped off the top of the weed. >> how much of it is a problem inside and how much of it is an outside problem? >> i think it's all mixed up. like what i was saying, i never know whether it's education first or jobs first because public schools, what to you see? somebody moves to a neighborhood, the public schools are good and therefore the neighborhood gets better. one thing they're doing at dunbar now which is exciting, this week they opened a $122 million new version of the school with the idea of trying to look to the past success of dunbar to help the kids who are there now think about their own future and what they've done is made the school really available to that community. >> okay. let's get people to read the book. >> please do. >> that's the important thing. we kpaecan't do it in five minu. "first class: the legacy of dunbar." what a great book and author. thanks so much, alison, for
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getting our minds into this. we have to keep them in there. the book, again, "first class. ". when we return, let me finish with the usual suspects beating the war drums again. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. friday night, buddy. you are gonna need a wingman. and my cash back keeps the party going. but my airline miles take it worldwide. [ male announcer ] it shouldn't be this hard. with creditcards.com, it's easy to search hundreds of cards and apply online. creditcards.com.
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let any finish tonight with this. it's pretty obvious don't you think why so many people have had it with war? the trumpets have blown. the hawks have flown. the neos and cheneys have blown their home front bugles and
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then, and by then the bodies have started coming home. and then the people we put in power in afghanistan and iraq begin the predictable pattern of humiliating us, blaming us acting like their only wish was for us to get the hell out of their countries. liberation means never having to say thank you. president obama knows all this. knows it well within him. feels this vietnam thing like those of who lived through it. this endless line of argument that takes us into struggles then quietly heads back into its little ideological warrens wednesday things heat up. the drumbeaters are back picking up their checks at the heritage foundation or american enterprise institute getting back their strengths for the next round of op-peds and journal articles to rouse the country to yet another war. you have to ask yourself, if you're barack obama, why would you want to ever do something this crowd of couch potatoes wants you to do? these george pattons of the rear guard who stand ready to fight
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any war you can pack into 800 words? so here we go with another bite-sized war that even david letterman laughs when he hears it's going to last, you love this, two days. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. have a safe and happy labor day weekend. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. u.n. inspectors tonight are preparing to leave syria in anticipation of an imminent strike by forces of the united states. a strike which seems all but assured after the secretary of state john kerry came before the nation today with a stunningly aggressive case for military intervention in syria. he began what he called facts about the chemical weapons attack that took place near damascus last week. >> we know that for three days before the attack, the syrian regime's chemical weapons personnel

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